Sunday, January 16, 2011
Why Didn't We Listen to Gabby Giffords
After the Healthcare Vote in March, 2010, sometime between midnight and 2am, Gabby Giffords' office's front door was kicked out/shot out/destroyed. Asked if she was fearful, Gabby responded: "We've had hundreds and hundreds of protesters congregate in front of our office corner. Rhetoric is incredibly heated. Calls. The emails. The slurs. Things have gotten spun up. Outbursts of violence. The yelling. It is really important that we focus that we have a democratic process. Gabby Giffords said Palin had put the “crosshairs of a gun sight over our district,” adding that “when people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.” Chuck Todd then asked Giffords if “in fairness, campaign rhetoric and war rhetoric have been interchangeable for years.” She responded that colleagues who had been in the House “20, 30 years” had never seen vitriol this bad. But Todd moved on, and so did the Beltway. What’s the big deal about a little broken glass? Few wanted to see what Giffords saw — that the vandalism and death threats were the latest consequences of a tide of ugly insurrectionism that had been rising since the final weeks of the 2008 campaign and that had threatened to turn violent from the start.
What many people don't remember is Humphries role in this. Giffords’s first brush with that reality had occurred some seven months before her office was vandalized — in the red-hot health care fever of August 2009. She had held another “Congress on Your Corner” meeting, at a Safeway in the town of Douglas. There the crowd’s rage and the dropping of a gun by one attendee prompted aides worried about her safety to summon the police. The Tucson Tea Party co-founder, Trent Humphries, told The Arizona Daily Star afterward that this was a lie, that “nobody was threatening Gabby.” After Loughner’s massacre, Humphries was still faulting her — this time for holding “an event in full view of the public with no security whatsoever.”